The Viewpoint of a Fallen Man
Africa, you may think, is a strange place to begin. When one thinks of the word ‘Africa’ it is near impossible for teenager not to conjure up pictures of vast grassy plains, herds of magnificent animals, blue skies and sparsely seen trees. Rather, it brings to the forefront of their minds other words like: ‘Safari’ and ‘Jeep’.
It doesn’t instantly create an image of Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda or Libya. Because these words paint a very different picture but are as much a part of Africa as are the blue skies, and maybe that is the only similarity.
I’ve learned that the modern teenager, when thinking about the continent of Africa, is content to think of it as a place where lions stalk zebra, where oceans of grasses sway in the breeze, not images of starvation, disease, mothers with babies hanging around their necks, breasts sagging because there’s no nutrition in them, no milk for their children, and on the faces of those women one understands the torment of a life being lived in a hard, unforgiving way.
America is by far the most powerful nation on earth; it is also one of the richest nations in the world. Surprising when we are told that other nations in the world take great advantage of us. Really? Being born in the United States puts any child two rungs from the top of the tallest ladder. In the main, the greater number of American teens will never know poverty, ever be hungry to the point of dying, yet how often do I hear them cry: This present day society is by far harder than ever before. Really? When did you attempt cursive writing? When did a child before you ever shine a light on the idea of instant gratification?
Christmas is a beautiful time on the planet, because it compels us to pause, and to recognize an event that took place two thousand years ago. The event means little or nothing to a great many people, which is fine, yet it is the foundation on which many beliefs exist. I was raised in a Christian family and, to my shame, understand little of any other beliefs. Many young people have decided to declare they have no faith in Government. I don’t believe in all this political stuff. Just in that sentence the western teenager shows his or her advantage in life over half the world. The fact is you can choose not to believe in anything; a freedom to choose.
It is possible nothing bad will ever happen because of a choice not to believe; everything might stay the same. Why worry? Let’s face it, many will receive a gift at Christmas whether they believe or not. Growing up, the teenager can deny Christianity till the cows come home, but it exists, and it is part of western culture as much as guns and killing. Food and clothes is also part of our culture, would we deny them? Religious belief is a complex and difficult thing. It demands a lot. It doesn’t demand that you go to church, but church is considered the house of Christian belief in one form or another. I will agree with many teenagers: We can be a good people without ever having stepped into a church. We can be a good Christian if things humble us and we recognize what we’ve got and what we can do with it.
Childhood wasn’t a time when I was asked to understand, just have a thankful ability to receive. Childhood is a time of fearless fun. Pretty soon, children become teenagers and societies’ boundaries are pushed back. There are other religions to consider; the religion of fashion, peer pressure, pray to the House of Apple or of being just the same as the next person.
My own vision for happiness is, quote: unrealistic in the modern world my teenage nephew told me this morning. I guess it is particularly unrealistic to the woman carrying her starving child in Africa.
Love is another religion I live by. I imagine it to be everything, the all-encompassing feeling I feel for the people who have helped me through life. I love whisky, songs, sleeping, making love, anything of pleasure.
So, what is Love? The bible says this: God loved us so much he gave us his only begotten son. Think of that. What kind of love would allow a parent to give up a child to uncertainty? It is the supreme sacrificial love; the kind the bible tells us about, when a mother is asked to choose between having her child, losing her child, or when having the child cut in half, gives her child away.
There is the love we say, and there is the love we feel, and then there is the love we live by. I believe this not just of society, but of government and country. Either we believe, or we don’t. Either we care about others, or we merely confess to caring. That brings me to another story, the one we call The Good Samaritan. This tells the story of a traveler making his way to a neighboring town and is befallen by thieves. He’s beaten and left for dead, only to be passed by many people who don’t want to become involved until one person observing the wrong decided to lend a hand. This person has been called throughout the ages as: The Good Samaritan.
Freedom of choice, freedom from starvation, freedom to go with Apple or Samsung! I hope when you’ve chosen, you’ll recognize there’s more than confessing to that of being good and decent: there’s always acting one.